Last January, I started a tradition at N.E.Time Gambling – a beginning of the year wish list. Some wishes were granted – others kinda missed, or worse, had a curse thrown on them. Let’s see how things worked out:
Wish #1 – Hollywood Casino, Hotel & Raceway would have a better 2015.
RESULT: 24 hour gambling didn’t seem to work out in Bangor, tax rebates are still not forth-coming and revenues have dipped. It does look like New England’s casino expansion is taking a bite out of their previous success. Thank goodness a third casino wasn’t approved a year ago in Maine.
Wish #2 – The additions coming to Oxford Casino in Oxford, Maine continues to improve on a very successful two years for the casino and community of Oxford.
RESULT: – The Hampton Inn across the street is being built, a good thing since it seems things have flattened out a bit in revenue. Still drawing good crowds, but the newness might be wearing off! Just recently, another casino has been proposed for the next legislative ballot – really not the best time for it.
Wish #3 – Video poker pay tables improve throughout the country.
RESULT: Terrible! VP pay tables continue to decrease payback and increase house edge. The Strip in Las Vegas very little playable video poker. At home in New England, we have the “haves” & “have-nots.” The “haves” – Mohegan Sun, Foxwoods, (and to a smaller extent point, Twin River) offer decent if not some full pay VP options. The “have-nots” – Hollywood Bangor, Plainridge Park and Oxford offer such terrible pay tables, the website VPfree2 list as “nothing playable.”
Wish #4 – I wish Foxwoods luck with their retail expansion. Tanger Outlets will be opening soon and let’s hope in time for the summer vacation.
RESULT: Not only did they open this summer, but renovations in the Casino around Tanger have been great additions. Tanger Outlets seem to be doing well and opened with a bang! Let’s see what numbers are posted after the Christmas season.
#Wish #5 – I wish the Connecticut Sun of the WNBA, and playing at the Mohegan Sun, get lucky with their two draft picks and some free-agent signings to become a force in the Eastern Division again.
RESULT: Draft pick (they traded one because out of top 4, they received the 3 & 4 in the lottery) didn’t pan out yet. Besides that, they had an injury riddled season and ended up last, with this year’s third draft pick. Let’s hope with a new coach, young players, and the greatest fans in the WNBA this year will be different.
Wish #6 – Newport Grand best of luck for their future. May they continue to be relevant and stay open.
RESULT: Relevant? Hardly. Stay open? Their only hope is a move to Tiverton, now that Twin River Management Group owns them. A new casino with a hotel would be 5X the upgrade of the current faciliy. Besides, some people in Tiverton want them to relocate – unfortunately, Old Newport wants them to move also.
Wish #7 – I wish Plainridge Park & MGM Springfield the best of luck in their expansion. I also wish all those without jobs from Suffolk downs closing down the best for future employment.
RESULT: Let’s take this in three pieces.
Plainridge Park is open, only revenue is dropping with every month – far from the expectations of the Massachusetts Legislature & Mass Gaming Commission. Nice place, but a lot of transitioning needed by Penn National Gaming who owns. This is a different type of casino and the first in Massachusetts – there is a steep learning curve here.
- Suffolk Downs – a ballot initiative proposal to add a second slot parlor to an existing Thoroughbred horse track has been certified for the 2016 ballot by Attorney General Maura Healey.
Meanwhile, Suffolk Downs entertained three races to keep it’s racing license. However, the future for long-time employees doesn’t exist at this time.
Wish #8 – That Foxwoods & Mohegan Sun find ways to increase visitors & revenue and get back to their best days years ago.
RESULT: Both mega-casinos in Connecticut have increased its effort to keep its clientele from leaving to Mass & Rhody – even their own CT patrons. So far, it’s been “OK,” since the revenue free-fall of a year ago seems to have leveled off. It’s doubtful that their previous success will be seen again, but the bleeding has stop for now. Hopes for a third joint Sun/Foxwoods venture with a casino in norther CT hopes to battle MGM in Springfield. It better be a full casino with table games and amenities or the much larger MGM Springfield will get CT patrons anyway.
Wish #9 – I still wish Twin River Casino would get a hotel.
RESULT: Still working through it, but this is one wish that will be seen.
Wish #10 – I wish 6:5 Black Jack never makes it’s way to New England Casinos – and for those tables with 6:5 odds on a BJ, I wish they catch on fire, never to be seen again.
RESULT: So Far, So Good. Traditional Blackjack payouts continue at New England casinos. Also, many casinos with table games offer $5 tables – and $5 craps tables. Foxwoods still has it’s $1 BJ table that includes a $.25 buy-in for each hand.
After the New Year, NETime Gambling will be looking at the following:
2nd Annual New England Casino Wish List
New Year’s Gambler Resolutions
NEW! – The NETY’s – A “Best Of” list for New England Casinos.